Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Nato chief: Vladimir Putin 'weaponising' refugee crisis to 'break' Europe

Nato accuses Russia of 'weaponising' immigrants - Financial Times

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Financial Times

Nato accuses Russia of 'weaponising' immigrants
Financial Times
Nato's top commander accused Russia and the Syrian regime on Tuesday of “weaponising” immigration by using bombs aimed at civilians to deliberately cause large flows of refugees and challenge European political resolve. General Philip Breedlove ...
NATO Commander: Russia Threat to US, Its Allies and PartnersVoice of America
Europe's daily refugee flood hides terrorists, and Russia, Assad fueling flow: top NATO brassThe Japan Times
Russia, Syria using refugees to overwhelm Europe, says US generalSydney Morning Herald

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Nato chief: Vladimir Putin 'weaponising' refugee crisis to 'break' Europe 

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Greece appeals for humanitarian aid as border closures creates backlog of thousands of refugees

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One of Russia's looniest far-right ideologues endorses Donald Trump - Vox

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One of Russia's looniest far-right ideologues endorses Donald Trump
Our photo service subscriptions don't have any images of Dugin, so I've embedded this very weird July 2015 video of him speaking English to show you what he looks like. Aleksandr Dugin, a far-right Russian academic and spinner of bizarre ideological ...

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FBI Tip Line Receives ‘Actionable’ Tips Daily 

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The FBI’s tips web portal, created in the wake of 9/11, receives about 1,300 tips a day.

Judge who ruled for Apple shreds government for using a 227-year-old law to access people's smartphones - Business Insider

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Stars and Stripes

Judge who ruled for Apple shreds government for using a 227-year-old law to access people's smartphones
Business Insider
Apple's fight in a California federal court over the FBI's attempts to unlock an iPhone received a boost from a similar case decided on Monday in a Brooklyn courtroom. In the more high-profile California battle, the FBI, citing a 227-year-old law ...
Can the FBI force a company to break into its own products?Stars and Stripes

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Apple, the FBI, and the Internet of Things: Your whole house is open to attack - Los Angeles Times

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Los Angeles Times

Apple, the FBI, and the Internet of Things: Your whole house is open to attack
Los Angeles Times
The unfolding showdown between Apple and the FBI is almost invariably depicted in terms of the security and privacy of your smartphone. That's a huge mistake. What really hangs in the balance is the security of every modern device in your house — your ...

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Congressman Suggests FBI Is Taking Advantage of San Bernardino Tragedy to Push Agenda - The Intercept

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The Intercept

Congressman Suggests FBI Is Taking Advantage of San Bernardino Tragedy to Push Agenda
The Intercept
A leading House Democrat expressed serious concern on Tuesday that the FBI is exploiting the ISIS-inspired massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino to sidestep Congress on the encryption debate. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said it was troubling “that in ...
Congressman: FBI Is Exploiting Tragedy to Push Its Encryption AgendaGizmodo

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Super Tuesday States, Poll Closings

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Voters are participating in primaries and caucuses in at least 11 states and one U.S. territory Tuesday, with billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump expected to dominate the Republican field and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the Democratic contests. Here is a list of Super Tuesday states and poll-closing times: Alabama: Polls close at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT) Alaska: Polls close at 12 a.m. EST (0500 GMT) Arkansas: Polls close at 8:30 p.m. EST (0130 GMT) Colorado:...

US targets Puerto Rico companies in toxic pesticide case

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The U.S. government on Tuesday filed complaints against a pest control company in Puerto Rico and two businessmen for the illegal use of a toxic pesticide that nearly killed an American family in the neighboring U.S. Virgin Islands.

Morales believes estranged son is dead

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Bolivian President Evo Morales takes legal action to see the son he thought had died in 2007, but says he now believes the child is dead.

Colorful Campaign Begs Kadyrov To Stay

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There are the videos of crying and singing children, the photographs of public employees holding placards, and a human rights ombudsman’s argument that allowing him to resign as Chechnya’s leader would violate the rights of the long-troubled Caucasus region's residents.
Such is the strange state of politics in Chechnya, where Ramzan Kadyrov’s oversized presence as the Caucasus republic's leader may or may not be coming to an end, amid cascading concerns about whether the Kremlin has given him too much free rein to rebuild the war-ravaged Russian region and quash the long-running insurgency that has plagued Moscow since the Soviet collapse.
The bearded, gruff-talking former rebel's term as leader formally ends next month. Given his singular dominance of the region's politics for the past nine years -- and the relative calm that has taken hold there -- most observers of the region expected him to be a shoo-in to stay on.
Last month, however, Kadyrov said in a radio interview that he had no desire to continue as leader. On February 27, he explained his reasoning further, saying “my time has passed.”
“For Kadyrov, this is the peak,” he told the Russian channel NTV.
In the days since, however, a public campaign calling on him to stay in power has taken off, with hints of endorsement or even involvement by government officials. That, in turn, has stoked speculation that Kadyrov’s resignation may be anything but.
The day after Kadyrov’s announcement, a group calling itself the Civic Forum of the Chechen Republic released a statement saying "society sees no alternative to [Kadyrov] and there can be no talk of successors." The statement was published on the official website of the Chechen administration.
A day later, the region’s top human rights official, Nurdi Nukhazhiyev, posted a similar announcement. The dark irony wasn't lost on human rights activists who have documented rampant rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, political assassinations, and collective punishment for relatives of insurgents, during Kadyrov’s tenure.
"The refusal of Kadyrov [to stay on as leader] would be a massive violation of the rights of [Chechen] citizens," Nukhazhiyev wrote
And then there were the videos and photographs circulating on social networking and chat sites like Whatsapp and Instagram, featuring children singing Kadyrov's praises and, in one case, begging him to stay.
On Instagram -- which Kadyrov has used liberally both to promote himself and issue various edicts and announcements -- a Russian-language hashtag that translates as "Ramzan Don’t Go" had received more than 6,600 different posts as of March 1.
"The strength of Ramzan Kadyrov, Ramzan Kadyrov is cool. We in Chechnya are all patriots. Cheer for us," sang a boy in one Instagram video.​
TRANSLATION: A woman is heard asking "What don't you want?" The crying boy answers "I don't want him to go." The woman asks "Who is going?" The boy answers sobbing "Ramzan Akhmadovich." The woman replies "Well, tell him."
TRANSLATION: The children are chanting "Ramzan Don't Go!
TRANSLATION: The women are holding up a sign saying, "Ramzan Don't Go!
Kadyrov, 39, all but inherited the post following the assassination of his father, Akhmad, in 2004. He also inherited a Kremlin strategy that came to be known Chechenization, which turned Chechen paramilitaries into Moscow’s proxy fighters, taking the lead in battling the separatist rebels and Islamic radicals in the second Chechen war that began in 2000.
​Kadyrov's forces gained a reputation for brutality and have been accused of torturing people and abducting relatives of suspected insurgents, or even burning down houses.
But the Kremlin strategy also included showering Chechnya with money, to help rebuild the capital Grozny and the countryside, which in places resembled devastated battlefield and war zones.
Now the Grozny cityscape is adorned with glass-and-steel skyscrapers, street lamps, and manicured pedestrian walkways, and is home to the largest mosque in Europe -- a reconstruction that Kadyrov has largely claimed credit for. 
But Kadyrov has also become a lightning rod in recent months. He has taunted Russia's beleaguered opposition activists, called some traitors, and issued thinly veiled threats against them.
Kadyrov has also called for defying, or even shooting, federal law enforcement forces should any of them enter Chechen territory without his knowledge. 
The resignation interview came on the same day that tens of thousands of people marched through Moscow's streets to mark the anniversary of the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. He was gunned down on a bridge just meters from the Kremlin walls, and one of those now under arrest is a top commander in a paramilitary unit close to Kadyrov.
In another Instagram post on February 28, Kadyrov appeared to leave the door open for staying on, noting that, under Russian election law, President Vladimir Putin must first select a slate of candidates from which voters can choose a local leader.
"With full responsibility, I must emphasize that I will fulfill any decision of the President of the Russian Federation, any order," he wrote.
"There isn’t a clear replacement for him. There is international pressure that points to him as an obvious bad guy, the links to the Nemtsov murders, that gets picked up, so maybe there’s an effort to distance the Putin regime from all that, and have him step down," said Olga Oliker, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 
"On the other hand, Kadyrov has been Putin’s guy in Chechnya," added Oliker, author of Russia's Chechen Wars 1994-2000: Lessons From Urban Combat.
"Who replaces him? What credibility he has, comes from his dad. So who comes next? Does it fall apart?" Oliker asked. "Does anyone in Moscow really know what’s going on in Chechnya?"
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Terrorists, Criminals Hidden Among Refugees Flooding Europe

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WASHINGTON -- NATO's top commander said the massive influx of refugees into Europe is providing cover for terrorists and criminals and that poses increasing danger for an attack.
U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove also told a Senate committee on March 1 that Russia's military campaign in Syria -- now in its six month -- has "wildly exacerbated the problem" of refugees fleeing the civil war there. 
He accused Moscow and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using migration as a weapon to overwhelm European support structures and break European unity. 
"This criminality, the terrorists, and the returning foreign fighters are clearly a daily part of the refugee flow in Europe," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. 
He said Syria's use of barrel bombs have no military purpose and are aimed at terrorizing Syrian citizens to make them refugees and turn them into problems for other countries.
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Europe on cusp of a 'self-induced humanitarian disaster', UNHCR warns 

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UNHCR warns of 24,000 refugees who need accommodation in Greece, about 8,500 of them at the border with Macedonia